Zachary Mendenhall recently received an Eagle Scout Award for creating An Index of Graves at Citizens Cemetery, Chattanooga, Tennessee. For the project Zachary and his volunteers photographed each grave marker in the lower half of the cemetery, recorded all the inscriptions on each gravestone, and ascertained the GPS coordinates of each grave. He received advice for the project from Raymond Evans, cultural anthropologist and archaeologist.
Zachary donated his work to the Chattanooga Public Library, where it is housed in the Local History and Genealogy Department. His research can be used by library patrons to assist them in locating ancestors or other people of interest who are buried in the cemetery. The Library plans to create online access to this material, and there may be a continuation of the project to include the upper section of Citizens Cemetery.
According to records and tradition, burials first began in the Citizens Cemetery about the year 1835, possibly at an earlier date. The cemetery was ceded to the general public as a "grave yard" by William Gardenhire, and many of Chattanooga's original citizens and their descendants rest there, including John Pomfret Long and Thomas McCallie. The poignant markers trace the history of Chattanooga, including the yellow fever epidemic of 1878.
"Historians and genealogists are grateful that Zachary Mendenhall created this important resource," stated Mary Helms, Head Librarian, Local History and Genealogy Department. Zachary’s Boy Scout Troop 35, Cherokee Area Council, is sponsored by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. His parents are Mark and Janet Mendenhall.